You really can’t beat sharing stories to make you feel like you’re not alone in a situation – we can all identify with a bit of true-talk after all. Not only that, being open and honest about real things that happen to real women is the fastest way to smash taboos and get us all talking about tricky topics. There’s no such thing as an over-share. Here, Donna 27, tells us how PMS ruined her relationship.
What does your PMS feel like?
“I first got an inkling that my PMS symptoms were quite severe when I was 15 and threw a whole carton of eggs at my mum. She was making me breakfast and I got blood-boiling angry. I can’t even remember why, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t justify me lobbing a load of eggs at her. After I’d come on, it’s likely I was teary and remorseful. I had a really good relationship with my mum and my premenstrual outbursts were irrational and uncalled for. For a few days I’d swing from being very, very angry to very, very upset. This red mist rage would continue to catch me by surprise every month all through my late teens and early twenties.
What were your PMS symptoms?
“I met Liam when I was 24, and fell in love with him after only a handful of dates. We liked the same things and made each other laugh. I also thought he was the hottest guy I’d ever been with. I was besotted with him and it wasn’t long before we were doing everything together.
“I managed to keep my PMS mood swings hidden for a while. But of course he was my boyfriend so as we got closer he began to see that every month, just before my period, I’d turn into a different person. For three weeks out of four I was a chilled, sweet girlfriend but for one week a month I acted like a monster. I could tell he was baffled by this behaviour – he was a very level, balanced guy and couldn’t relate to my up and down emotions.
“And when I was with Liam, my PMS manifested itself in a slightly different way than I’d experienced before. About six or seven days before my period I’d begin to feel anxious and tetchy – I was highly uncomfortable in my own skin. I’d over analyse our relationship in my head, replaying disagreements or blowing tiny comments he’d made totally out of proportion. My anxiety would then ramp up over the next couple of days, until it all poured out of me in floods of breathless tears. As I did this, Liam would stand in front of me with a blank look on his face, clueless to what was the problem was.
“At first, he was empathic. He’d cuddle me when I sobbed, and tell me he was there for me no matter what. I’d make him tell me why he loved me, and then shout that he was only saying it to make me feel better. He couldn’t win. But this was only for a few days, and then I was back to my usual happy self and all the upset was forgotten. I’d even laugh about it afterwards. What a nightmare.
How did PMS ruin your relationship?
“My PMS seemed to get worse though and as our relationship progressed my monthly anxiety turned into raw, ugly jealousy and paranoia. Just before my period I’d be convinced Liam was lying to me. I’d sneak a look at his phone when he left the room, my heart beating loudly in my chest as I did so. I don’t know what I was expecting to find by checking up on him – he was the perfect, loyal boyfriend to me and gave me no reason not to trust him. But once a month, my mind just wouldn’t believe it.
“You’re mad,” he screamed in my face one night, when I’d gone way too far and accused him of sleeping with his (married) boss after he went on a night out with work colleagues, “you’re driving me away". And I knew that I'd lose him, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t control how I reacted. These feelings were real and powerful and they overtook me.
“In the end, after two years of being together, Liam had enough and dumped me. He told me he loved me, but couldn’t deal with the volatile nature of our relationship. He wasn’t willing to put up with my mood swings any longer. I begged and pleaded with him, explaining that it was only once a month when I acted that way and promised that I change. But he'd heard it from me before and ultimately I knew he was right. Even though I was suffering too he didn’t deserve to be treated like that, he deserved better.
“Liam leaving me was a wake-up call and since then I’ve tried to get my PMS in check. I've learned that I must be extra sensitive to the monthly hormone fluctuations that happen in my body, so I work hard at helping myself where I can. I take evening primrose oil, go to yoga twice a week and try to eat healthily and stay hydrated before I get my period. I was so devastated by the end of my relationship with Liam, I also had a few counselling sessions to figure out why I acted that way. My lovely therapist taught me some coping techniques and ways to help manage my intense emotions. So far they’re working, but I’ll admit I’m scared to get into another relationship incase the pattern repeats itself. Unless you suffer with PMS you don't know how much it can wreck your life once a month".
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